IF – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2024 film IF.

Story

Don’t get me wrong, I love fast-paced action, but sometimes I just want a nice slow-paced movie that takes its time with the characters. This movie did a fantastic job at keeping a steady pace that felt almost like a Miyazaki film.

The story elements are well introduced and very well developed.

Score: 1

Characters

The main character is inquisitive and sad, the actress conveys that even small ways and does a great job.

At first it might seems like Ryan Reynolds is just playing himself, but as you watch his mannerisms and speech patterns, you see that he’s actually playing a mixture of himself, the main girl, and the dad. It’s subtle but impressive.

The rest of the cast has a chaotic-hopefulness that is sorely lacking in the world and films lately.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Most of the movie’s dialogue has two meanings and works as a joke and story. It’s quippy but also sweet.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The camera work is an updated version of the YA movies we grew up with in the 90’s combined with a lot of slow movements, letting the characters be the focus.

The music was fun and matched the emotions well.

Score: 1

Fun

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this movie and didn’t do any research, which was for the best because I wasn’t spoiled. It was a lot of fun and and had a lot of heart. I cried, I laughed, and I felt proud at guessing some of the surprises. The kids loved it and now scream “Keith!” whenever they trip.

Score: 1

Overall

A live action movie that has the heart and emotion of Pixar with the joyful pacing of Studio Ghibli. It’s whimsical and wonderful. I highly recommend it.

Final Score: 5 Stars out of 5*


*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.

Health Update July 2024

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans;

The slow wheel of healthcare has finally come around. Here’s my last update from April. If you don’t want to read all that, I have had issues the past 2 years with:

  • Pain in both my forearms
  • Dizzyness
  • Fatigue
  • Brain Fog
  • Tingling in my hands and feet
  • Numb and tingling on my left cheek
  • Blurry vision in my left eye
  • Pain in the joints of my hands and feet

The Road So Far

I’ve seen 3 family doctors, 2 neurologists, 1 elbow surgeon, 3 physios, 1 neuro-ophthalmologist, and a neurologist who specializes in MS; and I’ve been poked, prodded, and shoved in metal tubes a lot.

Here’s a list of things that have been eliminated as possibilities for what’s wrong with me:

  • MS and other degenerative neurological disorders (this is a ‘we don’t see signs but if there are changes, come see us’)
  • Tennis elbow
  • Spinal injury
  • Brain tumour

Last year, I did intensive physio with the clinic associated with WSIB. It was a three-pronged rehab, physio, and therapy. Each helped a little but had their limits. The clinic’s goal was only to get me back to work and not to find the root cause of my problems.

It was effective at lowering my pain levels by 20 to 30 percent. It’s gotten a little worse since but I’m still better a year later than I was when I started. My pain is constant but manageable, both because I’m used to it and because of the physio. It still makes everything harder however. That doctor did say I have mild carpal-tunnel and should keep an eye on it.

What’s Wrong with Me

The most recent round of doctors have cleared me of those scary ones mentioned above, and the nice MS doctor has diagnosed me with Complex Migraines (also called Atypical Migraines) and Foraminal Stenosis in the C5-6 disks.

Foraminal Stenosis means that the nerves outside my spine are being pinched. The recommendation is physio to help with back strength and posture. If that doesn’t work, I’ll be referred to a surgeon.

As for the main culprit, they think its Complex Migraines. The quick explanation of this is that I’m having non-pain migraine symptoms regularly. So the blurry vision is like halos, and the rest are typical migraine issues, but my body doesn’t always include more then a feeling of pressure in my left temple.

For the migraines, the doctor recommends:

  • Discovering my triggers
  • Avoiding alcohol, drugs, and tobacco (Not going to be hard since I barely drink and don’t do either of the others)
  • Drinking at least 2 litres of liquid a day
  • A vitamine combo of 400mg each of Magnesium, Co-Enzyme Q10, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Regular sleep habits (Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time all week)
  • Consuming the same amount of caffeine each day
  • Eating regularly (same time every day)

If that doesn’t work after 3 months, I should talk to my doctor about pain killers or going to a pain clinic.

In the meantime, he recommends I get tested for sleep apnea, get a colonoscopy, and as mentioned above, see a physio.

That means I have a plan for moving forward and a tentative diagnoses. Let’s hope the above can fix me.

I still find it amazing that all this pain in my arms and hands could be caused by migraines, but that’s what we have.

Thanks for reading,

Éric

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Story

Like every other movie in this series, it feels like they come up with set pieces and added story as they went along. “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.”

That being said the plot in this one is, despite time travel, way more coherent than some of the others.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Instead of the confident, mellow, Indiana from the last movie, we have the Indiana who’s given up. Apparently, the screen writers liked Mutt less than I did and killed him off between movies to give Indiana more motivation. Once he stopped moping, he went back to his quippy roots.

I was glad the leading lady wasn’t a love interest and that makes this movie unique in the series as he doesn’t have a love interest that follows him through.

As for his niece, she bordered between fun and frustrating. The kid was awesome though, and it was nice to see Salah again.

The biggest frustration was offhanded way they kept killing people. I hate it when a story introduces someone interesting and then kills them off because they’re inconvenient.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This movie had much improved banter and dialogue. The archeology-babble was about the same but the conversations and jokes were great.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This was shot differently then the others and it worked really well. The camera work, effects, and colour palette was really good. I did find the “age reduced” Harrison Ford a little weird looking, and it was discordant to have the older voice coming from the younger character. Seeing as those effects look weird now, I can’t imagine they’ll age well.

The music was great as usual.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie straddled the line between nostalgia and new content and did a good job. The whole family enjoyed it. I feel like any Indiana film with Salah in it is awesome.

Score: 1

Overall

One of the better Indiana Jones films, and that means you’re in for lots of action, lots of adventure, and more than your fair share of quippy dialogue. It’s slowed down by experimental special effects, a depressing storyline, and more character deaths than were needed.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Dear Pegasus – Welcome to Level 5

Dear Pegasus,

You’ve had an impressive year. You’ve grown in every way and I’m really proud of the person you’re becoming.

This year you’ve:

  • Done homeschool with Mum
  • Taught yourself to read (What?)
  • Learned to use a mouse and computer
  • Learned how to add and subtract
  • Done a lot of baking and cooking
  • Played video games
  • Learned the rules for Battleship

You are all signed up for school in September and I’m just as nervous with you as I was with your sister. I worry about teasing and you having trouble with kids your age. You have had so little time to learn how to play with kids that aren’t Dragon. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Your big sister loves you, she might fight with you, yell at you, and sometimes go out of her way to get on your nerves, but she loves you. She wanted to go into your class for the first few days to make sure you’re okay. I hope that level of mutual concern continues. I never had anyone like that in school and I’m glad you two will be together for 4 years.

Dragon is more concerned about teasing and fitting in, but I’m also worried about your language and dealing with a real classroom where you’re not the centre of attention.

Before that happens, there’s a whole summer to get through. We have a big trip planned and you’re excited to get on the first plane you remember.

Something really special that I’m going to miss next year is spending time with you during the day. You would randomly ask me to read you a book (or 12) and snuggle into me. We’d play phone games and you just snuggle close.

You climbing into my lap and putting your head against my chest and demanding we do something is soothing and wonderful. I’m going to miss that with you at school all day and me coming home late 3 days a week.

You are stubborn in ways I’ve never seen before and sometimes you do things just because your sister does, but you are a joy to be around and I love you dearly.

Welcome to Level 5 and all the new challenges it’ll bring.

I love you lots!

Papa

Favourite Things: Éric

post on Instagram a while back detailing the author’s favourite things, and I thought it would be fun to do that, not only for ourselves, but for our characters too! Here’s Éric’s:

Read Éric’s latest book here:

Cover art by @pinkpiggy93 on Tumblr and Instagram

Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests by Jen and Éric Desmarais is available for pre-order now!

49th Shelf Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
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Amazon Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
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Apple Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

Add it to your “Want to read” on Goodreads here!

Thoughts on homeschooling (second time around)

It has been a year (40 weeks) of teaching my Pegasus. It has been rewarding, exhilarating, and exhausting. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the teachers who do this every year with 20+ students.

Things I learned this year:

  • I have no patience when he doesn’t try
  • He knows how to push my buttons
  • I don’t have to do everything by myself
  • I know a least a little bit about a lot of different topics
  • When he tries, he learns really well
  • He has great ideas
  • He is really creative
  • He’s great at math
  • I forgot about the crochet and dance portions a LOT
  • I’m incredibly proud of my Pegasus
  • It’s a lot easier to do this the second time around, for several reasons:
    • I had a lot of the lesson plans already done
    • I didn’t feel like he had to “keep up” with the virtual kids (because there weren’t any)
    • I knew my triggers better, so when I noticed myself getting frustrated, I was able to pivot to something else
    • When Pegasus resisted doing something, I either didn’t include it in the future, or changed it to be something else, so that led to less fights

Things my Dragon learned this year:

  • How to print all the letters in small caps (he already knew caps) – but he doesn’t like them and will use all caps whenever he can get away with it
  • How to play with playdough
  • How to use scissors safely and cut semi-on a line
  • How to use glue
  • The sound of each letter
  • The sounds of syllables
  • How to count to 100 (in English)
  • How to count to 10 (in French)
  • What a pattern is and how to make one
  • A few French words (although he insists he doesn’t know them)
  • The days of the week
  • The months of the year
  • The seasons of the year
  • How to recognize the elements of a fairy tale and put them together into a new one
  • How to brainstorm a story, storyboard it, write dialogue, and then put it all together
  • How a stop-motion movie works and created two
  • How to remove the background from an image in Photopea
  • How to insert images in Canva, change their sizes, and move their placements
  • How to design and create a mini zine in Canva (from a template)
  • That crocheting takes a long time
  • How to hold a crochet hook
  • How to draw from reference
  • How to measure baking ingredients
  • How to combine ingredients to follow a recipe
  • How to make a spice mix
  • How to measure something with a ruler
  • He learned to read music – the 9 notes around middle C
  • The values of whole, half, quarter and eighth notes
  • Can clap and count a line of music using those notes
  • Completed several finger exercises and the value of practicing them
  • How to play chopsticks
  • How to read in English (surprised me!)

Overall, I would call this year of Junior Kindergarten/Maternelle successful, even though the hard part, the learning French part, didn’t go as well as I had hoped. He is very much resisting learning it, which will hopefully change at in-person school next year.

The important thing was that he had fun, and he tells me that he did. He also wants to make another mini zine and write another fairy tale during the summer, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’m so very proud of how well my Pegasus did this year.

Missed the launch?

Hello Readers,

Did you miss the fantastic launch of Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests? You’re in luck; Renaissance Press recorded it.

Enjoy, and remember that it’s available wherever you buy books.

49th Shelf Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
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Amazon Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Rakuten Kobo Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests
Apple Books Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1983 film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Story

This cleans up the loose threads of the other two movies and concludes the story in a satisfying way. It’s a little meandering and at times the philosophy is laughable.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main characters are consistant and likeable. The secondary characters are good and the emperor is deliciously evil.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Cheesy and a little over the top but lot of fun with quips galore.

The emperor is wonderfully evil but his manipulations of Luke aren’t as clever as it’s made out to be.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects from the original movie hold up well but like the other movies, the effects added digitally in the 2000’s don’t look as good. I’m also not a big fan of replacing Sebastian Shaw as the Anakin force ghost. I get the whole Anakin died when he became Vader but I don’t like it.

The music is amazing and I was particularly happy with the major-chord version of Vader’s theme that played when he died.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie remembers the hope of the first and gives us the happy ending needed. It’s only sad because of what we know about the sequel movies and how the characters never truly find happiness.

I love how all three movies are excellent at building a universe with so much depth without being overly confusing to the casual viewer.

The kids loved this one although they were a little confused about Vader’s motivations.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful way to end the series, filled with hope and fun. The movie is satisfying on it’s own and as a closing chapter to the trilogy.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5